The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

EMPLOYEE COUNCILS IN THE RESPIRATORY CARE DEPARTMENT

S. Brown1, M. Turner1


Background: In the fast moving pace of today’s large respiratory care departments, the achievement of excellence in patient satisfaction, employee recruitment/retention and clinical practices can be very challenging. This demand requires a high level of organization and cooperation from all levels of the department.

Methods: Three Councils were created from staff members from all shifts to meet these needs. The Clinical Excellence Council (CEC) is responsible for education of staff, researching evidence based studies, reviewing policy changes, new equipment, and technology. The Patient Satisfaction Council (PSC) responsibilities include reviewing patient surveys, listening to patient concerns, and providing service recovery. The Retention and Recruitment Council (RRC) focuses on employee satisfaction. They develop creative ways to recognize employees for their years of service, giving extraordinary patient care, and showing leadership within the department. This council also created marketing techniques to recruit new employees, including a job fair and having a booth at regional and national respiratory care meetings. During January, the councils develop an action plan for the year so they remain focused on their objectives. The councils answer directly to the department director, who then reports action plans to our hospital administration.

Results: After two years, the councils made a positive impact on the department outcomes. The effort of our CEC has earned our department national recognition for our low percentage of ventilator assisted pneumonia and a reduction for the number of days our patients are on the ventilator. The PSC efforts improved our Press-Ganey patient satisfaction scores from 85.9% to 87.8%. With our hospital growth, there was an immediate need for 20+ critical care therapists. The RRC responded by adding 20 FTE’s over a year, reducing overtime costs and lowered our turnover rate to < 10%. Our employee satisfaction scores have gone from 3.81 to 4.16 on a 5.0 scale, with 5 being the best possible score.

Conclusion: Employee councils in large respiratory care departments create ownership for the employees and provide better patient care in more cost effective way. Employees feel that they are appreciated and recognized because they actively participate in department decisions that affect them. This structure has also created a closer relationship between the staff and the leadership of the department.

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